Last updated on 16th Oct 2021 - By Dwayne Michaels

How Abnormal VITAMIN B12 affects heart?

The evidence for the beneficial effects of vitamins B12 and folic acid is much stronger than for garlic, vitamin E, and other dietary supplements promoted for heart disease prevention.

The human body needs vitamin B12 to make RBC, nerves and carry out other functions. The average adult should get 2.4 micrograms per day. Like most vitamins, vitamin B12 can’t be made by the body. Instead, it must be gotten from food or supplements.

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Vitamin B12 deficiency can potentially cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system.

At levels only slightly lower than normal, a range of symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, difficulty walking, depression, poor memory, breathlessness, headaches, and pale skin, among others, may be experienced especially in people over age 60.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause symptoms of mania and psychosis.

Consult a doctor

Vitamin B12 deficiency is most commonly caused by low intake, but can also result from malabsorption, certain intestinal disorders, low presence of binding proteins, or use of certain medications.

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Vegans—people who choose to not consume any animal-sourced foods—are at risk because plant-sourced foods do not contain the vitamin in sufficient amounts to prevent vitamin deficiency. Vegetarians—people who consume animal byproducts such as dairy products and eggs, but not the flesh of any animal—are also at risk.

Vitamin B12 deficiency has been observed in between 40% and 80% of the vegetarian population who do not also take a vitamin B12 supplement or consume vitamin-fortified food.

In Hong Kong and India, vitamin B12 deficiency has been found in roughly 80% of the vegan population. As with vegetarians, vegans can avoid this by consuming a dietary supplement or eating B12 fortified food such as cereal, plant-based milks, and nutritional yeast as a regular part of their diet.

The elderly are at increased risk because they tend to produce less stomach acid as they age, a condition known as achlorhydria, thereby increasing their probability of B12 deficiency due to reduced absorption.

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Most omnivorous people in developed countries obtain sufficient vitamin B12 from consuming animal-sourced foods, including meat, fish, fowl, milk and eggs. Grain-based foods can be fortified by having the vitamin added to them.

Vitamin B12 supplements are available as single or multivitamin tablets. Pharmaceutical preparations of vitamin B12 may be given by intramuscular injection. Since there are few non-animal sources of the vitamin, vegans are advised to consume a dietary supplement or fortified foods for B12 intake, or risk serious health consequences.

Children in some regions of developing countries are at particular risk due to increased requirements during growth coupled with diets low in animal-sourced foods.

Vitamin B12 is included in multivitamin pills; in some countries grain-based foods such as bread and pasta are fortified with B12.

In the US, non-prescription products can be purchased providing up to 5,000 µg each, and it is a common ingredient in energy drinks and energy shots, usually at many times the recommended dietary allowance of B12. The vitamin can also be a prescription product via injection or other means.

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Injection of hydroxycobalamin is often used if digestive absorption is impaired, but this course of action may not be necessary with high-dose oral supplements, because with large quantities of the vitamin taken orally, even the 1% to 5% of free crystalline B12 that is absorbed along the entire intestine by passive diffusion may be sufficient to provide a necessary amount.

Vegetarians and especially vegans may not get enough vitamin B12.

Fortified foods might be necessary to reduce the risk of not meeting vitamin B12 needs. Choose soy and rice-based beverages and soy-based meat substitutes that are fortified with Vitamin B12 if you do not eat animal-based products. Check the Nutrition Facts table to see if a food is fortified with vitamin B12.

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